by Kara Dolan-West | Mar 20, 2018 | Temporary Total Disability Compensation
If you have been hurt at work, or contracted an occupational disease, you may find yourself unable to return to your former position of employment. Your restrictions may be totally disabling and may be temporary, with the hope of improvement as you undergo treatment for your work-related conditions. If you find yourself in this type of situation, you may be wondering how am I going to replace my work wages? You may be entitled to temporary total disability benefits and should file for payment as soon as possible after your work injury.
Temporary Total Disability compensation is paid when an injured worker misses more than seven (7) days of work due to a work-related injury or occupational disease. The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation defines “temporary total disability” as the inability of the injured worker to return to his or her former position of employment. A finding of temporary total disability, sometimes referred to as “TTD,” does not require a showing of complete physical impairment; rather, TTD requires a showing that the injured worker is prevented from performing his or her regular job duties.
Temporary total disability is intended to compensate a disabled worker for his or her loss of earnings resulting from the work-related injury. This wage replacement may be paid in situations where an injured worker is injured and is unable to return to work for a temporary period of time, or even in a situation where an injured worker requires surgery due to a work-related injury and needs time to recover before returning to work. Temporary total disability compensation may also be paid if you have developed a psychological condition following your physical injuries that prevents you from maintaining your former position of employment.
What if you are capable of returning to some form of employment with your employer, but the ongoing temporary restrictions you have been assigned prevent your return to your pre-injury position? You may still be entitled to temporary total disability compensation if your physician has assigned restrictions to your treatment regime but has also indicated you can go back to work in a light duty position. If your employer has no such light duty position available, and you are continuing to treat for your injury and are showing improvement, you may remain on temporary total.
TTD benefits are typically paid on a biweekly basis and are based on the injured workers’ wages earned over the last year of employment. For the first twelve weeks of disability, TTD is paid at 72% of the full weekly wage, subject to the statewide maximum for the injury year and any applicable offsets. The full weekly way examines recent wages an injured worker earned just before he or she was injured. After the twelve weeks of disability, any continuing TTD benefits are paid at 66.666% of the average weekly wage. The average weekly wage is a calculation of the individual’s average wage for the past year of earnings.
You may also be wondering “when your temporary total disability benefits may come to an end?”. Temporary total disability benefits paid by the Ohio BWC or your self-insuring employer may stop for the following reasons: (1) you return to work; (2) your treating physician releases you to return to your former position of employment (whether or not that position remains available or note); (3) your employer creates work that aligns with your work restrictions; (4) you have reached maximum medical improvement; (5) you are incarcerated; or (6) if you voluntarily abandon your employment, i.e. you retire for non-injury related reasons.
To apply for temporary total disability compensation, you must file a C84 form requesting payment of temporary total disability benefits. Filing for the benefit alone, however, is not enough. You must have a licensed physician who is registered with the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, who is currently treating you, certify your temporary and total disability by submitting a Physician’s Report of Workability form, otherwise known as a MEDCO-14. You may also need supporting medical notes from your treating physician. Compiling all of this documentation and ensuring the physicians are submitting the correct paperwork as well can be daunting.
Temporary total disability benefits are often crucial to injured workers who need this benefit to cover living expenses, such as housing and utilities. If you believe you are entitled to temporary total, or any other wage replacement benefit, you may need the assistance of an attorney to secure your benefits. For more information, or for a free consultation, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
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